Forestry and Natural Resources
Department of Agriculture
West Lafayette, IN 47907
- Phone: 7654945146
John has published over 180 papers. His research interests focus on genetic mutations and how they are produced and transmitted in individuals, populations, species and the evolutionary processes that affect genetic change. The objectives of his research program are to understand genetic processes that act at the levels of populations and species and to apply this knowledge to the conservation and management of natural resources. Studies of the genotoxic effects of environmental mutagens on fish and wildlife are being conducted in the Republic of Azerbaijan. In this project contaminant effects are compared at various levels of organization, from the individual to the population. A second project focuses on the genetics, evolution, and conservation of the endangered Steller sea lion. We hypothesized that a third distinct population or stock exists in this species. The endangered western stock was divided into two groups which has important implications for the conservation and management of this species. This project is funded by NOAA. A third project investigates the genetic status of the Bering Sea-Chukchi Sea-Beaufort Sea stock (BCBS) of bowhead whales that is subject of an aboriginal harvest by Alaskan natives. The purpose is to examine genetic structure and to document diversity levels. Part of the duties regarding this project is to serve as a member of the US Delegation to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission. These studies are funded by NOAA and the North Slope Borough. A fourth study investigates the molecular systematics of bats. This project is part of a multi-institutional NSF grant (EF0629849) headed by the American Museum of Natural History called “ATOL Collaborative Research: Resolving Mammalian Phylogeny with Genomic and Morphological Approaches.” The main focus of John’s research in this area includes the molecular evolution of vespertilionid bats.
John’s research projects are having positive effects in the management and conservation of marine mammals, contributing to our understanding of the effects of contaminants on wildlife populations, and are helping to improve the environment in Azerbaijan. The recognition of three genetically differentiated stocks of Steller sea lions is now a central issue being addressed by the Recovery Team and it will certainly impact the final report of the team. John’s studies of stock structure and genetic variability in bowhead whales have beneficially impacted the native harvest at Barrow, Alaska. And, John’s studies of the genetics of wildlife populations in contaminated environments has led to an awareness of effects not previously imagined. His work in Azerbaijan is now revealing the scope of the problem of contamination from the greatest concentration of chemical factories left behind by the Former Soviet Union.
Expertise: Genetics, Systematics, Ecotoxicology
B.S., Biology, University of Dayton, 1971
M.S., Biology, University of Dayton, 1973
Ph.D., Zoology, Texas Tech University, 1976